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Domingo Choc Che
Domingo Choc Che
Courtesy of Mónica Berger Gonzalez


The Murder of Maya Healer Domingo Choc Che: A Q&A with Mónica Berger Gonzalez and Michael Heinrich
By Connor Yearsley
In early June 2020, Domingo Choc Che, a Maya traditional medicine expert, was accused of witchcraft and burned alive by a group of people in Chimay, Guatemala. At the time of his death, he was part of a project to document traditional medicinal plants in the Petén department of Guatemala. Choc Che’s murder reflects longstanding racism and ignorance in the region and reinforces the importance of projects like the one he was working on. This article includes a Q&A with two of Choc Che’s colleagues, who provide insights about who he was and what should be learned from his murder. Read more >>



Kiss the Ground promo image
Courtesy of Josh Tickell


Kiss the Ground Documentary Explores Promise of Regenerative Agriculture
By Ann Armbrecht, PhD
The importance of regenerative agriculture is the primary subject of this documentary, which premiered at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. With engaging stories and compelling visuals, the film suggests that a solution for climate change may be right beneath our feet. Sustainable Herbs Program Founder Ann Armbrecht reviews the film before its official September 22, 2020, wide release. Read more >>




Heather Oliff & Mark
ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal and Heather Oliff, PhD


Prolific Author Heather Oliff Retires from HerbClip after 21 Years
By Hannah Bauman
Pharmacologist and medical writer Heather Oliff, PhD, will no longer be a fixture in the HerbClip service, as she had been since 1999. The veteran author ended her contract with the American Botanical Council (ABC) in August 2020, when she turned in her final summary. Oliff has seen the service go through major changes and several managing editors, and her work has been featured in nearly every issue of HerbalGram since 2001. ABC acknowledges Oliff’s excellent contributions to both publications. Read more >>



Four Elements logo


Four Elements Organic Herbals Receives USDA Value-Added Producer Grant
By Hannah Bauman
In summer 2020, Jane Hawley Stevens, founder of Four Elements Organic Herbals in North Freedom, Wisconsin, received a value-added producer grant from the US Department of Agriculture. The organic, sustainable agriculture that Stevens practices comes with its fair share of challenges, but her dedication to creating natural products close to the earth is her passion. The funds come at a critical time for her company, and will help her smaller farm stay competitive in an uncertain market. Read more >>

Lester Grinspoon: 1928-2020

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Featured Book


Plants People Culture 2nd ed cover  
Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany, 2nd ed., was written by Michael J. Balick, PhD, and Paul Alan Cox, PhD, and published by Garland Science in 2020. The excerpt includes Chapter 3: Plants that Harm.

With careers spanning decades conducting field research in remote villages around the world, Michael Balick, PhD, and Paul Alan Cox, PhD, are two of the world’s leading ethnobotanists. In the second edition of their work, they describe the way that humanity is intertwined with plants. Plants have created sea craft for travel, fabric for clothing and baskets, and medicine for both traditional and pharmaceutical use. Plants also have religious significance, and indigenous claims that plants themselves are sacred are leading a resurgence of conservation efforts. The authors suggest that conservation goals can best be achieved by learning from, rather than opposing, indigenous peoples and their beliefs. The expanded narrative invites readers to engage personally with the relationship among plants, people, and culture.

Plants, People, and Culture can be purchased from the publisher. ©2020 Routledge. This material is reprinted with permission from the publisher and may not be used for any other purpose.



Media Watch
Federal Trade Commission Official Describes COVID-19 Fraud as ‘Unprecedented’. Natural Products Insider. August 31, 2020. The US government has taken aggressive action against companies that claim their products can treat coronavirus.

Fungi in Gut Linked to Higher Alzheimer’s Risk Can Be Reduced through Ketogenic Diet. Science Daily. August 31, 2020. Specific gut fungi associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment can be altered in a beneficial manner by eating a modified Mediterranean diet, researchers have found.

Hooked on Tonics: How Tonic Water Went from Medicinal to Trendy Cocktail Mixer. The Dallas Morning News. August 28, 2020. The story of a quinine tonic starts in the 17th-century medicine cabinet and continues through to the modern bar.

Cranberry Juice May Help Reduce Risk of Stomach Ulcers. NutraIngredients-USA. August 28, 2020. Consuming cranberry juice twice daily reduces the risk of Helicobacter pylori infection that can lead to stomach ulcers, according to a new clinical trial.

The Bugyals or Himalayan Alpine Meadows: A Treasure Trove Endangered. Mongabay. August 27, 2020. Alpine meadows, which are home to many endangered plant species, are in danger from climate change and anthropogenic activities; however, conservation efforts are underway to preserve these unique habitats.

The Hemp Industry’s ‘American Dream’ Is Getting Nipped in the Bud. KUNC. August 21, 2020. With the recent legalization of hemp in the United States, optimistic growers are finding unexpected difficulty in creating a supply chain for their product.

Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts a Cut above for Blood Vessel Health. Science Daily. August 20, 2020. According to a new study, cruciferous vegetables were associated with less extensive blood vessel disease in older women.

Cashew Shell Compound Appears to Mend Damaged Nerves. EurekAlert! August 17, 2020. An in vitro trial found that a compound from cashew shell promotes the repair of myelin, which has implications for central nervous disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

HerbalMediaWatch-Small.jpg Read more Herbal MediaWatch headlines here.



Community And Industry Releases
The Institute for Functional Medicine Appoints Loren Israelsen to Governing Board of Directors. United Natural Products Alliance. September 11, 2020.

Americans for Safe Access Unveils 2020 Report Cards Analyzing Medical Cannabis Programs Across the United States. Americans for Safe Access. September 10, 2020.

Review: Low Doses of THC Hold Value in Mitigating Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress. NORML. September 10, 2020.

New CBD Proposals Would Undermine Public Trust in Safety of Nutritional Supplements. Natural Products Association. September 8, 2020.

Supplement and Hemp Industry Associations Applaud Bipartisan Legislation to Regulate Hemp-Derived CBD. Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). September 4, 2020.

CRN-International Publishes Conference Reports, Adding to the Scientific Literature on the Role of Nutrition in Healthy Ageing and Translating Science into Policy for Health Promotion. CRN. September 1, 2020.

AHPA Updates Online Botanical Safety Handbook. American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). August 26, 2020.

Dietary Supplement Usage Up Dramatically During Pandemic, New Ipsos-CRN Survey Shows. CRN. August 20, 2020.

Maryland University of Integrative Health Approved for Cannabis Science Program by Maryland Higher Education Commission. Maryland University of Integrative Health. August 20, 2020.

Study: After-Hours Marijuana Use Doesn’t Negatively Impact Job Performance. NORML. August 20, 2020.

Retail Cannabis Sales Continue to Surge to Record Highs. NORML. August 20, 2020.

Americans for Safe Access and The Cannigma Join Forces to Co-produce Podcasts for Cannabis Patients, Caregivers, Providers, and Supporters. Americans for Safe Access. August 19, 2020.

AHPA Statement on Oleandrin and Nerium Oleander. AHPA. August 18, 2020.


Featured Events

ABC-SHP-logo-FINAL.jpgSaw Palmetto: A Conversation on Sustainability, Quality, and Authentication with Steven Foster, Stefan Gafner, and Umasudhan Pal. October 8, 2020. Online. More information.

4th Annual Mycelium Mysteries. September 25-27, 2020. Online.

AHPA Sports Nutrition Congress. October 21, 2020. Online.

10th Annual Spirit Plant Medicine Conference. October 23-25, 2020. Online.

Demystifying and Evaluating Herbal Research: A Primer for Students and Practitioners of Herbalism. February 1, 2021. Online.

More event listings can be found on ABC’s website.

Herbal IQ
This shrub from traditional Chinese medicine has been used to help fever, nausea, and sore throat. Modern research and popular media have focused on its antiviral properties. Find out what it is here!